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12-year-old creates Instagram storm against her school’s sexist dress code


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A defiant sixth-grade student has gained worldwide support after getting her principal to agree to a policy review of her school’s “unfair and sexist” dress code.

See the full Instagram post here

Molly Neuner, 12, who studies at The King Middle School in Portland, Maine, purposefully violated her school’s dress code in order to protest against the banning of girls wearing strappy tops.

Portland’s district-wide dress policy says schools can prohibit clothes that cause a “material and substantial disruption” to the school, including “thin-strapped tops”.

Molly says she was told these types of clothes could be a “distraction” to boys and that was why they were banned.

It was following being told this sexist reasoning she was inspired to go to school dressed in a tank top with the message ‘#iamnotadistraction’ written down her arm. Molly was joined by around 20 other school girls and gained widespread attention on Instagram, where photos of their dress code violation were shared. 

Christina Neuner, Molly’s mother, wrote a powerful Instagram post, in which she denounced how girls like her daughter are taught to dress in certain ways.

In it she argues: “We need to teach our daughters that their bodies are beautiful and powerful and their own to display or portray in any way they wish,\" adding, \"(we also) need to teach our young, kind, brave sons that they are smart and strong and capable of controlling their own bodies.\"

The school’s Principal, Caitlin LeClair, has since said:

"We plan to take this feedback and use it as an opportunity to have some students’ and parents’ input.”

The dress code policy will officially be reviewed at the end of the year, ubut ntil then the current policy will remain in place.

Molly has said she’s happy the principal has agreed to a review but wants “to make sure they really do it.”

This is not the first time dress codes have caused controversy and debate.

Earlier this month a 17-year-old Texas schoolgirl was told she needed to change because her long sleeve dress was "inappropriate", while a Utah school came under fire in 2014 after preventing several girls from attending their school dance because the dresses they were wearing were deemed to be showing too much skin. 

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